Winning the Belmont Stakes ensures a horse's place in the history books, but completing the "Test of Champions" faster than any other competitors puts them into another stratosphere.
As I've said before when we looked at the top Belmont Stakes winners of all-time, this race is more than just a 1 1/2-mile sprint. The Belmont Stakes carries the weight of the entire Triple Crown™ on its back, even in non-treble years.
Known for being a race dictated by stamina, speed still is a key component at Belmont Park. It's not just about how fast you are, but how well you can maintain your speed throughout the entirety of the race. Those that come out of the gate blazing aren't always the ones to cross the finish line first.
Here are the 5 fastest Belmont Stakes winners of all-time:
5. Point Given, 2001
As we've stated, the Belmont Stakes carries more than just the weight of a singular race. That's why jockey Gary Stevens wasn't completely satisfied after he rode Point Given to victory at Belmont in 2001.
Coming into the race, Point Given had placed fifth in the Kentucky Derby®, due potentially to a foot infection, and won the Preakness Stakes. So while the treble wasn't in play, Point Given still had the chance to collect his second jewel.
Point Given came out of the gate well and fit right into third place through the first half-mile. But as the pace slowed down, Point Given didn't relent, charging in front of the competition. And while some horses slow down in the final stretch, Point Given didn't let another steed come close to catching him.
With such a dominant victory, Stevens was left thinking: what if Point Given was at full strength in the Derby?
4. Risen Star, 1988
Point Given wasn't the only horse to dream of a redo in the Derby.
After finishing third at the 1988 Kentucky Derby®, Risen Star won the Preakness Stakes and set the fourth fastest time ever at the Belmont Stakes. Similar to Point Given, Risen Star produced his best performance at Belmont Park, beating out the rest of the field by 14 3/4 lengths.
3. A.P. Indy, 1992
Success at the Belmont Stakes is in A.P. Indy's blood.
This colt was sired by 1977 Belmont winner Seattle Slew and went on to sire 2007 winner Rags to Riches, making him part of the only three-generation family of Belmont winners.
A.P. Indy followed up his 1992 Belmont Stakes win with a victory in the Breeders' Cup, helping him earn the honor of American Horse of the Year for 1992.
While A.P. Indy is often considered tied for second-fastest finish at Belmont, his official recorded time slips him just back into the third slot.
2. Easy Goer, 1989
Belmont Park was supposed to be the site of Sunday Silence's greatest accomplishment, but instead it became the home of his biggest failure.
With the Derby and Preakness Stakes already in the bag, Sunday Silence came to New York ready for a coronation, but alas fate had another plan.
In stepped Easy Goer. This steed came into the Belmont Stakes knowing that he had the skills to play spoiler, he just had to go and do it. Sunday Silence jumped out to the lead early in the race, but was slowly tracked down by Easy Goer, eventually beating the Triple Crown™ contender by eight lengths.
1. Secretariat, 1973
There are no signs of this record being broken any time soon.
With a 25-year gap since the last horse to win the Triple Crown™, Secretariat, with wins at the Derby and Preakness Stakes already in the bag, came to Belmont Park on the cusp of greatness. But what transpired in the 1 1/2-mile sprint shot him right into immortality.
While the contest was set at a comfortable pace through the first half, Secretariat showed the true makeup of a champion by stretching out to an enormous lead as they approached the back half of the race. As he crossed the finish line, he was 31 lengths ahead of runner-up Twice a Prince.
Not only did Secretariat set the record for the fast time at Belmont Park, but he also set the American record for any mile-and-a-half length on dirt.
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